5 Surprising Homebuyer Turnoffs

1. Dirty or cluttered homes: OK, you’ve probably heard this one before so it’s not that surprising, but it’s a big deal. It can’t be overstated how important it is to keep your home spotless for a showing. No visible dirt or disarray, and above all, no smells. Keep buyers focused on your home, not on your messes.

2. Wallpaper: Universal truth: Homebuyers hate wallpaper. And if that wallpaper is outdated, brightly colored, or themed, it can be hard for an otherwise serious buyer to look past it. Replace wallpaper with a neutral paint to create a fresh, new canvas that buyers will be eager to make their own.

3. Hovering sellers: Don’t attend your own open house or private showings. Prospective buyers may not feel comfortable talking openly with their co-buyers or agents with you there, and may not open doors and drawers in front of you—potentially missing some of your home’s best features. Sure, you know what makes your home shine and can answer questions, but so can your agent. Trust him or her to communicate what makes your home special.

4. Misleading listing photos: A wide-angle camera lens can be a homebuyer’s biggest enemy. There’s little worse than seeing pictures of a great new listing with a huge kitchen, closets made for kings, and a spacious playroom — and then show up and find that each room is the size of a postage stamp. Use photos that show your home in its best light, not a deceptive light.

5. Overpricing: You want your home to be priced so buyers feel like they’ll get a good value, not so they’ll sit on the sidelines waiting for a price reduction. It’s even worse if buyers tour your house and think, “Great place, but way overpriced. They must not be serious about selling, so let’s move on.” Work with an agent who uses comps to competitively price your home, and keep the serious buyers coming in.